Bo contacted his brother-in-law Shane Donovan via a video call the next morning.
How come you didn't know Carly’s in the agency?’
‘ISA agents are scattered round the globe, Bo; you know that.’ Shane said. ‘You know I’m with the L.A branch, she obviously belongs to one of our many other branches; here or outside the States. And I have to tell you; this memory loss of hers disturbs me a lot.’
‘Me too and I have no idea how long she’d had it Shane, or why. Which is where you come in; I want you to find out everything you can about her life before she joined ISA, how long she’s been an agent.’ Bo gave Shane her ID number.
‘Fine; I’ll go through her records and get back to you today. Does Kimberly need to know about this?’
‘Yeah, you can tell her.... just send me the information as soon as possible.’
‘Will do, Bo.’ After having breakfast with Ciara and Hope- whose manner towards him was still decidedly frosty- to his distress, he went to the station. As he was reading Dean’s typed statement, Roman put his head round the door. ‘She’s here.’
Bo got up immediately, straightening his tie. Carly... no Clarice for now, he reminded himself, managing to assume a neutral expression as Roman ushered her in. Whatever caused her memory loss hadn’t affected her beauty; she was even more beautiful than the last time he’d seen her sixteen years ago, a face any man would look at over and over again. Her emerald green eyes, what he’d especially loved about her, were still the same; vibrant yet shrewd and she looked very elegant in caramel pants, matching long jacket and a black turtle neck.
‘Hello again, Commissioner Brady.’ Clarice smiled. The same sweet smile. As he enfolded her slim fingers with his Bo felt another strange rush go through him; which he firmly ignored.
‘We’re not formal around here, Clarice; please call me Bo.’
‘Bo... of course.’
‘And Roman to you,’ Roman added, pulling out a chair for her. ‘Sit down.’
Bo reached for the small tape recorder used to tape witnesses’ statements and Clarice told them what happened, including what Ciara had told her at the diner. Bo and Roman listened intently; Ciara hadn’t been questioned about what went on during her captivity because Hope didn't want her reliving the harrowing experience.
Bo and Roman looked at each other thoughtfully. Whatever the sound Ciara had heard, it wasn't important now since Kyle his accomplice were dead. Bo explained the case to Clarice, adding the part of the torched cabin.
‘We figured the third kidnapper must have been arguing with Kyle and his partner and was about to torch the place when Dean arrived since we found Dean unconscious outside when we got there. Whoever he is... he’s still out there so we have to keep Ciara at close guard.’ Roman added.
Clarice looked thoughtful. ‘Commissioner Brady... sorry... Bo,’ she corrected herself as he shook his head. ‘Obviously the third kidnapper’s someone Ciara knows, someone she’s seen before. She already knew how this Kyle looked and sounded like because he was the one who came up to her in the park and at the carnival in the first place. So... why would he take the trouble to block her ears with music?’
Spoken like a true detective... thought Bo, filled with admiration, as he kept his eyes on her. Roman too was impressed.
Clarice went on, ‘Ciara’s a very observant little girl. On the way here I asked her if she heard the woman’s voice. She said she didn't sound like anyone she knows. If this woman was planning on skipping town with Kyle once they got the ransom...’
‘Why bother shielding her voice if she’ll be long gone before Ciara can identify her.’ Bo finished her sentence. ‘The third kidnapper didn't want Ciara to recognise his voice because he’s not a stranger to her. It makes a lot of sense.’
‘Bo, Roman... I’m going to be in town for a while. With your permission, I’d like to help you with what’s left of this case. Like you said, Ciara’s still in danger since whoever this person is covered his tracks well by making sure she didn't see or hear him. It could be anybody you both know. Obviously a “him” since Ciara didn't sense two types of perfume.’
Bo met his brother’s eyes and Roman nodded in agreement.
‘Any help you give us will be appreciated, Clarice. We’re glad to have you on board.’ Bo shook her hand again as she rose from her seat, immediately wishing he hadn’t as he experienced the odd sensation again as their hands made contact. He met her eyes, finding it hard to look away.
Roman swiftly rescued him by clearing his throat and Bo let go of her hand.
‘Yeah Clarice, we’re glad to liaise with you on this case, considering the kidnapped person’s a member of our family.’
Clarice shrugged. ‘It’s no problem at all. Besides, anybody who goes around kidnapping children need to be taught a lesson.’
Roman patted her shoulder. ‘Oh, he will be once we catch him.’ As he spoke, Hope entered the office.
‘Clarice, this is my wife; Detective Hope Brady.’ Never, never did Bo ever think he would be doing this, introducing Hope to a former great love. ‘Hope, this is Agent Clarice Parker.’
Hope looked over her carefully as they shook hands; taking note of the woman’s exotic features.
Hope shook her head, looking scandalised. ‘Nobody calls me that, Hope please. And thank you for helping my daughter.’
‘I just happened to be there. How is she?’
‘She’s very glad to be home; I just dropped her off at her grandmother’s. She’s been asking for you, actually. And Caroline wondered if you will join us for a family lunch today.’
Say yes... Bo willed silently, watching Clarice. Being back in a house she went to many times in the past might trigger something in her mind. It could be a start.
‘Uh... sure. I’d love to.’ Clarice smiled.
‘By the way; Clarice is going to help us close the case.’ Roman informed her.
Hope frowned. For some reason this didn't sit well with her. ‘Really? Why?’
Bo told her what their daughter had told Clarice and Clarice’s theory. ‘So she’s offered to help us catch this guy, whoever he is.’
Hope hesitated for a minute. ‘ISA don't usually handle kidnappings.’
‘I know. But I was recruited from the FBI; back then I was with the BAU... I profiled suspected kidnappers who also turned out to be serial killers and before that, I was an officer with the NYPD.’
Bo and Roman barely managed to hide their amazement as they digested her words. Shane better hurry up with that info before I lose it! Bo thought in frustration.
Hope bit her lip, suddenly feeling she’d just been made to look foolish. ‘Of course I don't doubt your expertise, Agent Parker. I’m just saying...’
‘Hope.’ Bo firmly cut in, ‘Clarice volunteered to help us and Roman and I are in agreement. And with the theory she’s given, we could really use her.’
‘Look, if this is going to present a problem...’ Clarice began anxiously.
‘No Clarice, no problem at all. You have my complete approval. In the meantime, I’d like you and my brother to leave me and Detective Brady alone for a minute.’ Bo said, looking daggers at his wife.
Roman took Clarice’s arm. ‘Come on, I’ll make you some coffee.’ Clarice followed him willingly; puzzled by the hostile vibes in the air.
‘Does it hurt you to show a little courtesy and gratitude?’ Bo hissed at Hope as soon as the door closed.
‘What are you talking about?’ Hope snapped.
‘You basically hinted that we don't need her help. What the hell is that?’
‘I wasn't trying to offend Agent Parker... I just think it isn’t necessary; we can handle this ourselves.’
‘Well, it’s not your call. She’s going to help us solve this case; period.’
Hope stared at him, dark eyes angry and resentful. ‘Well, since she’s going to have to put up with you bossing her around, good luck to her. Has Dean come in yet?’
‘I imagine he’ll probably sleep in today. Why?’
‘I told you last night I’m giving him the reward.’
‘Are you going to tell me what I can and can’t do with my own money again? You were the one who decided to offer a reward instead of paying the ransom, remember?’
‘Department’s rules state that an officer on duty isn't eligible for the reward, you know that very well.’
‘My rule,’ Hope said with emphasis, ‘states that a promise is a debt. Dean put his life on the line when he went out there to rescue Ciara and I’m going to make sure he’s compensated. Justin agrees with me and he’s going to arrange for the money to be wired.’
‘Oh sure... Justin.’ Bo snapped. ‘You can guarantee him agreeing with you, can’t you?’
‘Well, it’s not like I’ve had much luck with my husband in that area.’ Hope snapped back. ‘Dean’s getting the reward; end of discussion.’
Swiftly, Bo walked across the room as she turned away; grabbing her arms before she could open the door and forced her to face him.
‘What’s happened to us?’ he whispered. ‘Why are you being this way with me... why?’
Hope disentangled herself from his grip. ‘Because you refuse to admit you screwed up, that’s why. Now you won’t let me do the right thing, even after you proposed it on TV.’
‘For God’s sake... ’
‘Brady, just leave me alone. When you’re ready to say you were wrong, let me know, okay?’ Shoving him aside, she opened the door and left, slamming it behind her.